Dixon ancestors arrived in early 1820s

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2003

One of the earliest and most influential of the early settlers in Covington County was Jeremiah Dixon, Sr., a native of North Carolina. He was born in Pitt County circa 1764 and grew to manhood while residing there with his family. There are some records suggesting he was the son of John or William Jr. and Ann Dixon of North Carolina.

Jeremiah Sr. claimed he volunteered for the Continental Army in 1778 for six months of military service. He fought in several battles including the one at Briar Creek. In April 1781, he re-enlisted for another year of service. He was present for the engagement with the British at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, which was the last major battle fought in the South. He was discharged on May 13, 1784.

Jeremiah appears to have obtained 274 acres of land in Richland County, North Carolina, for his service in the Revolutionary War. There is no record of him having ever occupied this property, and he left his home state in 1815 for the Mississippi Territory. He was most likely motivated by the "Alabama Fever," which was raging at the time. He probably traveled along the Federal Road leading through Georgia and to Ft. Mitchell in Alabama. From there he continued to follow the route southwest and past Montgomery until he arrived in Monroe County. In the 1816 Census for that county, Jeremiah's family was listed.

On December 19, 1823, Jeremiah Sr. purchased land in the Conecuh River Township along the banks of the Conecuh River. This site was located about one and one half miles southeast of the current Fairfield community. He was one of the earliest families to settle in the new Covington County and joined the other families of John E. Sentell, Wilson Bass, and Holland M. Hogg. There were 25 families settled here by 1825.

Jeremiah Sr. actually came along with his son-in-law, Reubin Diamond, who settled on land adjacent to his during the same year. The location was ideal in that it linked the families with the Montezuma and Brooklyn communities. They had access to these places through the Indian trails and Conecuh River. By 1837, the family had acquired several hundred acres in the area.

Jeremiah Sr. was married in 1785 to Elizabeth Goff of North Carolina. All eight of their children were born in their home state. The children included the following: Seth P, b. 1788, d. after 1850, m. Margaret ?; Mary, b. 1790; Elizabeth L., b. 1793, m. 1822 Reubin Diamond; Sophronia, b. 1795; Wiley B., b. 1797, d. 1872, m. 1825 Elsie Permelia May; Jeremiah Jr., b. 1801, d. ca 1848, m. Margaret ?; Elias J., b. 1802, m. Mary ?; and John Boneparte, b. 1804, d. 1873, m. 1828 Sirena Liles.

The oldest son, Seth, and his wife, Margaret, a native of Georgia, were living in the new village of Andalusia along with his brother, Wiley B.'s family, in 1850. They eventually settled on 40 acres in the Red Level Township. He acquired this land in 1851 from a military land grant of 1850. The family included the following five children: Samantha, b. 1825; John B., b. 1827, d. 1892, m. Mary Ann Travis; Seth, b. 1834; Lucy, b. 1834 (twin); and Analiza, b. 1845. (The 1850 census listed Lucy as being blind.)

The second daughter, Elizabeth, was the one who married Reubin Diamond, son of William Diamond of South Carolina. They bought 80 acres of land near her father in 1823. He added 160 acres to this farm in 1836 and 1837. They became leaders in the community and lived out their lives there. In 1825, the district elections were held in their house, and the community center was later built near their home. The censuses of 1840, 1850, and 1860 indicated Reubin owned one slave. The couple reared the following children: William, b. 1824, m. Ann Eliza ?; Elizabeth, b. 1825, d. young; Anna, b. 1829, d. 1923, m. Henry Padgett; John M., b. 1830, d. 1905, m. Melissa Jane Smith; Margaret, b. 1832, m. Samuel Tynes; Clarissa, b. 1834, moved to Texas; Reubin, b. 1836, d. 1915, m. (1) Mary Ann Beck, daughter of William Green and Louisa (Smith) Beck (2) Elizabeth "Lizzie" Presley; and Lucy J., b. 1838, m. William Mosley.

The second son, Wiley B., became a Captain in the Alabama Militia as a member of the 8th Brigade, 4th Division between 1822 and 1826. In view of his leadership he was appointed to hold the first election in Covington County, which was held in 1825 in his sister's house with 35 people casting votes. In 1837, he purchased 40 acres of land in the Carolina Township. In 1854, he bought a 40-acre tract in the Conecuh River Township and 80 acres in the Rome community. He farmed and later built and operated a sawmill. In 1870, he was living south of the Conecuh River, near Dixie, which was along the line between Covington and the newly formed Escambia County. Since he was having some difficulty with the Escambia County officials, he requested of the state legislature and was granted citizenship in Covington County. He died a couple of years later in 1872 and was buried in the Dixon Cemetery on his property. (The site of his home is the current Dixon Forestry Center, which was given to Auburn University by his descendants.)

Wiley B. was married in 1825 to Elsie May, daughter of James David May, Sr., a native of South Carolina. They reared the following children: Mary Elizabeth, b. 1826, d. 1896, m. Wesley Blacksher; David LaFayette, b. 1826, d. 1857, m. Sophia Lovelace; William H., b. 1829, d. 1864, m. Sophia Lovelace; Pamela Amelia, b. 1830, d. 1882, m. William D.J. Collins; Sarah, b. 1832; Lucinda, b. 1835, d. 1909, m. John or George Robinson; Jane, b. 1837, m. (1) Richard Henry Webb (2) Robert Miller; Martha, b. 1840, d. 1925, m. William A. Wade; Matilda, b. 1840, m. Noah Johnson; Victoria, b. 1842, m. George Wesley Lovelace; Wiley Adolphus, b. 1844, m. Elizabeth Garr; Napoleon Boneparte, b. 1846, d. 1930, m. (1) Sallie Tempe McGowin (2) Mary Agnes McGowin; Elsie Helen, b. 1848; and John Isaac "Buck," b. 1850, d. 1944, m. Sallie Hart.

Due to space, the additional children of Jeremiah Sr. will be continued in the next column along with a look at his great grandchildren. Sources for this genealogy include primarily the records of Walter Dixon who has done considerable research on his family. In additions, the works of Wyley Ward, various census records, Solon Dixon's The Dixon Legend, and the research of Rex Everage were consulted.

Anyone who might have a correction to the above or additional information to contribute is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com


The descendants of Burrell Jackson and Cornelia (Hare) Stokes will hold its first reunion on Saturday, July 26, beginning at 10 a.m. in the fellowship room at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ on Brooklyn Road. All relatives and friends are encouraged to attend and bring a covered dish dinner along with family memorabilia. Paper goods and ice will be furnished.